Copyright 2013 James Marsh
Hatches and Flies for the Pere Marquette River in Michigan
Most anglers think the big Hex mayflies or the Hendricksons are the most important mayflies on
this river, but in our opinion, the most important insects that hatch on the Pere Marquette River
are the Blue-winged Olives. Of course, there's more than one species and some of them are
bi-brooded. The hatch usually starts around the first of May and last until about the first of
Around the first of May, the Hendrickson hatch usually starts. These mayflies normally hatch
for about a month in various sections of the river. About a week later, the Blue Quills (called
Mahogany Duns and sometimes Black Quills locally) start hatching. This hatch last until about
the end of the first week in July. Around the middle of May, American March Browns will also
hatch in the faster water areas of the river. The hatch last for about a month.
At the same time, or the middle of May, you may also find some Sulphurs (called Pale Evening
duns locally) starting to hatch. This hatch can last to the middle of June. Brown Drakes start
hatching about the first of June and last for about a month. By the middle of May, you should
also find some Gray Drakes hatching. This hatch is usually very large and can last until the
middle of June.
About the first week of May, and lasting until the middle of July, the Great Olive Wing Dun, or
what locals sometimes call the Michigan Caddis, begin to hatch. This is mostly an evening
event. The Slate Drake hatch last about a month, or from around the middle of July until the
middle of August. In the faster water sections, you will find a few Light Cahills. They hatch for
most of the months of May, June and most of July. Trico mayflies hatch from about the first of
June until the third week of July. They are found in the slower section of the river.
Caddisflies are also very plentiful on this river. There are many species but the most important
are the Cinnamon Caddis species. They start hatching about the first of May and can last until
the end of July. Green Sedges start coming off around the third week of April. This hatch
usually last until the end of July. Remember, their larva, called Green Rock Worms, are around
all year available for the trout to eat. Imitations of them work just about anytime of the year.
The Pere Marquette River also has some stoneflies. They are usually found in the faster
sections of the streams. Little Winter Stoneflies hatch from January through April. Little Brown
stoneflies hatch in April and May. They are almost black in color but are members of the Little
Brown Stonefly family. Yellow Sallies (Little Yellow Stoneflies) are probably the most plentiful of
the stonefly species. They start hatching around the end of May and last until the middle of
August. Giant Black Stoneflies are also present in this river. They usually start hatching about
the first of May and last until the end of August. Steelhead eat their nymphs as well as the trout.
Terrestrial insects can be important during the summer months. Ants are plentiful around the
stream from about the end of June all the way to mid October. Imitations of beetles and
grasshoppers will produce trout during the months of July, August and September.
Midges are present year-round and imitations of their larvae, pupae and the adults will
produce most anytime. The most important time to fish imitations of them is during the cold
weather when few other insects are hatching.
Streamers are very popular flies for the Pere Marquette River. Imitations of sculpin, baitfish,
and leeches all produce. They are very good flies for catching the larger brown trout,
especially in low light and dingy water conditions.
As you can see, there's a lot of aquatic insects that hatch on this great river. At "Perfect Fly,"
we have specific imitations of all of them. If you haven't already done so, please give our flies a
chance to perform for you. They are not only are the most realistic flies you can buy, they are
the most effective at catching trout.
You should have a large selection of small egg flies in natural colors such as gold, orange,
Oregon cheese, peach, and cream in hook sizes #8 and 10's. Our "Perfect Fly" Giant Black
Stonefly Nymphs in hook sizes 6 also work well. Our "Perfect Fly" Hex (Great Olive Winged
Drake) nymphs in a hook size #6 work great. So do our Green Sedge larvae imitations (Green
Rock Worms) in a hook size 12. Streamers also work great for the steelhead and salmon.
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